This week started out with my review of Young Schulz, a collection of Charles Schulz’s comics featuring young adults at church.

Kinukitty reviewed Way to Heaven which is not as good as the rock band Angel.

I reviewed a handful of mahwa and manga, including Click, Bizenghast, and a collection of Hiroki Endo’s short stories.

Vom Marlowe reviewed the electronic art program Corel Painter and its official magazine.

I insisted that superheroes aren’t dead, despite the best efforts of Marvel and D.C.

And finally this week’s droney music mix is available for down load. Also, in case you missed it, you can still get the discoey mix from last week.

Utilitarians Elsewhere

A bunch of stuff this week, starting with:

Something completely different over at Splice Today, where I attempt to get in touch with my long denied genetic destiny as an NPR confessional essayist.

As a child, I was told that I mumbled. And, as kids will, I believed it—and went on believing it well after I had left home. In fact, I don’t think I fully realized this deception until well into adulthood. I was 28, I think; my parents had come into Chicago to visit and we were having dinner in a restaurant with a cousin and my wife-to-be. My cousin showed up late, bearing a relatively spectacular bit of news: My grandmother had caught her eye on a car door and was in the hospital. My mom sat up straighter in her chair, lifted her chin, and with that east-coast Jewish nasal edge that sounds like a jackhammer pulled across a blackboard, bellowed out, “Holy Fuck!”

Over at comixology I discuss ukiyo-e prints and Satoshi Kitamura’s children book “When Sheep Cannot Sleep.”

Kitamura’s book reads like a Japanese print series in a number of ways, from his off-center compositions, to his subtle use of blank space, to his lovely color palette, all the way to his clever, intentionally humorous use of visual puzzles. You’re always wondering from page to page what you’re supposed to be counting and where it is, just as in Yoshitoshi’s series you’re always looking for (and not always finding) the moon.

On Madeloud I discuss a number of unusual christian albums, including the Violent Femmes’ Hallowed Ground.

Anenoidal weirdo Gordan Gano played up his adolescent angst and played down his religious inclinations on most Violent Femmes releases — except for his second effort, 1984’s aggressively bizarre Hallowed Ground. Starting off with a plunking tale of child murder and ending with a joyful plea for watery apocalypse, the album recasts the fire and brimstone of old timey country as manic, off-kilter stagger: it’s Christianity as bi-polar disorder. Nowhere is this clearer than on “Black Girls,” a concupiscent vaudeville-meets-free-jazz paean to interracial affection, featuring a guest-spot from John Zorn’s Horns of Dilemma and the immortal lines “You know I love the lord of hosts/father son and the holy ghost/ I was so pleased to learn that he’s inside me/ In my time of trouble he will hide me….I dig the black girls!” Just like the squeaking saxophones and the bluegrass banjo, the cheerful lust and earnest faith exist side by side — angular, dissonant, incongruous, and perfect.

Bert Stabler has posted some more email conversations between the two of us, this time about Slavoj Zizek and God. Here’s me snarking at Zizek:

Aha! Just got to Zizek on the resurrection; it’s apparently a metaphor for the way an inspirational example lives on in a community of radical believers. “I may die, but what I stood for will inspire you…and so I live on!”

Which seems like really weak tea. Zizek goes to a lot of effort to read the death of God literally…and then we’re supposed to take the resurrection as not just a metaphor, but a cliched metaphor? Joan Baez on Joe Hill is the meaning of the resurrection? I mean, I like Joan Baez, and labor organizing is cool, but…why are we talking about Christ at all then if this is the point, exactly? And if this is indeed the point, why aren’t you out there organizing rather than having a debate about God?

Finally, over at the Knoxville MetropulseI review the recent release by Belgian psychedelic weirdos Sylvester Anfang.

Other Links

This is a great Wonder Woman cartoon by Kate Beaton.

Absolutely gorgeous Beardsley-like opium illustratons by Attila Sassy. I don’t say this enough, but thanks to Dirk for the link.

Ariel Schrag has a statement about a middle school pulling her anthology about middle school kids, Stuck in the Middle, off its shelves.

And your Thai pop video of the week, featuring Mangpor Chonticha: